Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll channels retailers’ seasonal thoughts and sends out her best holiday wishes in BUY THIS! BUY MORE! She writes:

Well, it’s just days until Christmas and the shopping frenzy is in full swing. I have often thought that – were we a proselytizing religion, which we are not – we Jews could set up booths and recruit at Malls during the stressful Christmas season. We would just have to keep it on the down low, until we sign them up, what an observant Jewish housewife is obliged to do during the eight days of Passover. (Hint: just one small part is going through every book you own looking for “chametz” or prohibited leavened crumbs you might have dropped, eating a granola bar while reading. We own thousands of books.)

Those kinds of rules and the pork prohibition seem to be quite the deal breakers for many people. Personally, I like Turkey Bacon just fine, but I have heard it compared to “eating a Band-Aid.” With a preference for the Band-Aid.

I have read that fully 75 percent of all toys sold in this great and good land are sold at Christmas. That’s an astonishing statistic and makes me wonder why the big box stores even bother to keep toys on the shelves for the rest of the year.

Every year there seems to be an effort to proclaim such and such a toy is the one children cannot live without, causing scarcity, and such festive Christmas traditions as stabbing other patrons in line in order to get the last Tickle Me Elmo. I have, of course, seen the bumper stickers and wristbands asking “What Would Jesus Do?” and I’m pretty sure that “When celebrating the day of my birth, slay thee another parent who seeketh to grab the last Cabbage Patch Doll” was not part of The Sermon on the Mount. I could be wrong. I’m no expert on the New Testament…

This manufactured scarcity was the occasion of my one and only shining moment as a Super Hero several pre-Amazon decades ago. My former karate teacher in San Francisco, then living in Victorville, had a little 5 year old boy whose very life depended on acquiring at least one of the Power Rangers. He had searched all of California and even Arizona and Nevada. He thought maybe Minnesota kids weren’t as hip as California kids and the craze had not yet hit there and called me in desperation. He was mistaken.

I spent several days on the phone calling Targets and K-Marts in towns small and large throughout Minnesota. I called clients in Georgia and Alabama who had girl children (sexist!) and was told by one that if I found a female Power Ranger, she would pay me $100 for it.

Finally, a K-Mart clerk in Duluth found not one, but FOUR different Power Rangers. It was like she had found The Ark of the Covenant! I gave her my credit card number and told her to throw in a $25 tip for herself, which she said she could not do. The package arrived. I examined the toys from every angle, trying to see what all the fuss was about and, failing that, wrapped them in Christmas paper and Fed Exed them on to my friend and sensei. He told me later that his son was the Big Dawg in the neighborhood for months to come and that he would never forget me. So I got a 10th Degree Black Belt and former Army Ranger guy on my team should the need ever arise. Word.

I love how many industries have creatively ginned up a way to use vast amounts of their products. Try reading the recipes on cereal boxes: “Take eight cups of Rice Krispies…”

A comic I worked with 35 years ago – Sid Youngers – used to have a very funny bit (I’m going to guess he isn’t using it any more…) about how baking soda convinced us to put an open box in our refrigerators and, having wild success at that, to pour a box down the drain! Talk about using up product – just buy it and throw it out!

Big Pharma simply gives trips and perks (and probably crack and hookers!) to doctors to convince us to take more and more drugs for maladies they invent like Restless Leg Syndrome and Social Anxiety. Plus they keep moving the goalposts, defining as problematic the very numbers that were considered ideal just yesterday. Like “High” blood pressure is now 120/80. Did you know that? I looked back at old annual checkup sheets and saw I had a Happy Face sticker on a Fasting Blood Sugar number that has now been reconfigured as “pre-diabetic.” (Really, isn’t EVERY number below THE “diabetic” number “pre-diabetic”?)

Just the other day I was reading about how one should throw out one’s kitchen sponge EVERY WEEK to avoid contamination with harmful and icky germs. That came as a surprise to me. I generally threw them out when the “scrape-y” side became too useless to do a good job on pots and pans. Leave it to Big Sponge to try to force people to buy 52 sponges a year! Likewise with Big Makeup. I have also read articles in ladies’ magazines that advise us to throw out all our makeup and especially mascara and other eye makeup every 3 months.

Is there anyone out there who actually does that? Deb? Tracy? Dorothy? Colleen? Anybody?

Here is my idea for saving even more money on makeup: don’t use it. Same with hairspray, nail polish and almost all face creams and potions. Nail polish is absolutely destroyed when shooting or cleaning guns. I have seen women with hairspray that could, conceivably, deflect bullets, but I’ve never worn a hairstyle that required the helmet look. If you are married to a man who thinks you look better with pale green eyelids, well, that’s your call.

Happy shopping and a Joyous and Blessed Christmas, Hanukkah, or Winter Solstice. Stay out of Malls and Walmarts on the day AFTER Christmas when half the stuff you just indebted yourself to purchase gets unceremoniously returned.

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